Mexico from North to South

by Patrick on December 28, 2010

We left McAllen, TX (KMFE) bright and early this morning with the goal of covering over 700nm in Mexico today.  Our first stop was Veracruz (MMVR)–a 3.5 hour flight at 12,000’MSL.  We all had headaches when we landed from the altitude, but for some reason the Mexican ATC insisted that even though we were following the coastline 12,000’MSL was the minimum safe altitude for the route.

We landed in Veracruz and started the customs formalities which consisted of carrying everything from the plane across the ramp and into their office for inspection.  After they got sick of looking at camera equipment they confiscated Aaron’s buffalo and elk jerky and sent us on to the next office.  Here I filled out some paperwork, not quite sure what it said, and then gave the nice gentlemen 600 Pesos.  Then he sent me to the next office were the weather briefer consulted with me about my flight plan.  He was well intentioned but his recommended route flew us straight into the largest mountain range between Alaska and Argentina.  Sorry buddy we’re not in a jet.  I filed the flight plan his way to make it easy and then we took off and went our own way.  The beauty of no radar coverage.

We signed off with Veracruz tower 20nm south and flew another 3 hours at 9500’MSL with no radio contact from anyone.  I started monitoring tower frequencies along the way and there was absolutely no traffic.  The trip was beautiful with mountains, valleys, rivers, and beaches that rival anything I’ve ever seen.  Alex worked hard shooting out the window, so hopefully we got some great shots.

Upon arriving in Tapachula (which is indescribable, so here’s a collage of pictures) we were greeted on the ramp by a very friendly lady that parked us and then led us into the office where I closed our flight plan and got another “consult” about our proposed trip tomorrow.  Aaron and Alex fueled the plane while I took care of the formalities–did I mention AvGas is about $3.70 per gallon. 🙂  You are supposed to file a flight plan for every flight in Mexico, and this explains the required “consult” with the flight briefer.

Over all the Mexican airport services were great. Once we got past the language barrier and formalities there were no problems.  The people are friendly and very eager to help us out!

Tomorrow…Costa Rica.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire December 28, 2010 at 2:33 pm

What amazing photos!

Looking forward to following your travels.

Cxx

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Brennan Marshall December 28, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Great details; keep ’em coming!

Stahl-Reading over this website with my parents…they agree you’re nuts and wish we could meet you somewhere along the way.

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Aaron January 2, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Ha, thanks man. Stuck in bad weather right now. Panama tomorrow weather permitting and on to Colombia. You and the fam pack it up and come on down!

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